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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
Canela, Vino & Jack's Mom
 
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Hunter - Behavior Change

Okay this about my boy Vizsla, Hunter but I need some advice!! I did post on the Vizsla forum but I haven’t gotten any replies back – hoping HF could help me.

Here is the message I posed on the VF:

From all our 4 dogs, Hunter has always been the Alpha dog. He is the oldest at 4yo. However, just recently his WHOLE demeanor has change. He will NOT go into the kitchen I have to talk him into it (baby-talk). For a lack of a better word, its like something spooked him. He is fine in any other part of the house. I am always with them, so I know he wasn’t hurt or anything in the kitchen. Our kitchen has a center island; he will not go on either side of it. I have tried giving him treats, he will take them but then go back to him submissive ways, he starts tip-toeing, crouching and walking with his ears pulled back. If we are all in the kitchen and I leave, all the dogs will follow me out except for Hunter he will go the opposite direction, to the dining room (the closet room) which in off the kitchen and he will sit there and whine in. You can tell he wants to cross the kitchen but scared too. I told my husband it has to do with the kitchen floor, its wood. At first I thought his nails were bothering so I trim them down, now I can’t hear his nail tap but he still very hesitate to go in the kitchen. The biggest change in his life is my husband is gone, he on a month long work trip, Husband left on Sunday, Hunter started acting weird on Monday. Could he miss him that much to start acting weird?? My husband and Hunter have a VERY special bond. They LOVE each other beyond words. I’m very concern with his recent behavior, I thought he would get better as the days go by but it hasn't. This is not the first time my husband been on a work trip, last year he was gone 7 months total but it was 2-3 weeks at a time.

In the past, Hunter was always good for looking out the window just waiting to bark at anything that moves – him just being a dog but he hasn’t done that either.

All the other dogs are acting normal. Not sure what is going on with Hunter.

Any idea what is going on or advice or suggestions to help Hunter?

I wanted to post a video but my phone isn't work - a whole other issue.

Sorry for the long post.
Betty

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Last edited by BFrancs; 01-09-2014 at 05:16 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 05:54 AM
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Hi Betty.

No experience on anything like this but one thing my trainers taught is that the "play" emotion is usually stronger than the "fear" emotion. So instead of using treats to get him back to the kitchen, you could try a good play session starting away from the kitchen but gradually moving nearer. May take a few play sessions to see any change. This worked with Charlie who was terrified of storm drains - now he just hops right over them.

Really hope Hunter is back to normal soon.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 08:07 AM
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Hi Betty,

I know Vizslas are known to be a very sensitive breed. The "why" of Hunter's behavior may be hard to ferret out. It SOUNDS like "superstitious" behavior, where he has decided that something "bad" was caused by him being in the kitchen. Ruth's suggestion is a good one. Whether you are using food or play, try to keep him engaged and his attitude "up" and happy in the kitchen. It's also good that you clipped his nails. The other thing that sometimes happens with dogs on slippery, hard, surfaces is they sometimes become concerned about slipping on the floor. It could even be that he and the other dogs were playing in there, and that he lost his balance and slipped, hurting himself (in a minor way, that you didn't notice) or even just scaring himself.

And the more nervous they get, the faster and tighter their movements, and the more likely they ARE to slip. Self-fulfilling prophesy!!! So it also might be a good idea to put s cheap runner or some none-slip scatter rugs down so that he has good footing through this area for the time being, at least while you are re-training him to feel comfortable there. Once he's acting normal in the kitchen again, you could slowly wean the rugs away, giving him a larger and larger section of bare floor that he was crossing successfully.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 11:11 AM
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We have a somewhat similar problem with our sheltie. We don't have much rain here. When it does rain, neither dog is enthused about going out; but the sheltie will just bulk at the door. He continues this hours later and then off and on for days later, weeks later. The behavior eventually phases out only to return the next time we have a fairly heavy rain. He's already done his going out refusals at least twice this morning and it hasn't rained for about 20 days. Meanwhile Nickie the hav happily dashes out and then comes back to the door looking for his "big brother".

Shelties are also a very sensitive breed. I think Hugh really doesn't like rain, he's still expecting rain after it quits, and then he's gotten himself into associating going through the open door with something undesirable (rain) possibly happening. He is fine once he gets outside, then it repeats the next time.

Last edited by NickieTwo; 01-09-2014 at 11:17 AM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Ruth, Karen and Nickie for your advice – I knew you guys wouldn’t fail me!

Ruth,
Actually I did do that yesterday, I tried to play games (with treats) and act goofy with him and it did help but I just got discourage when he reverted back to his fearful ways. I will keep at it. Today I tried not to baby him and tried to act normal I didn't want him to feel I was worried about him. Hopefully he didn't sense it on me. Just wish he would snap out of it. So not like him.


Karen, I had to do a few errands this morning and I read your post as I was driving home and I did a u-turn and head to TJ Maxx to buy a few nonslip rugs, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that – but thank YOU! Great idea. In my rush to get home I bought one non-slip rug and accidently bought a regular-rug (I thought they were both non-slip) either way, I did test it out. Of course, he didn’t want nothing to do with the slippery one, he lost his footing as soon as he stepped on it. (that’s getting return) the other one I had to encourage him to walk on it but he eventually did; he walk very slow and sat down for a good few seconds. He tail was still under him but at least he was waggling it – guess he was proud he made some progress.

Nickie, I also wonder if it has to do with the weather too, its not rain but it sure is cold. The kitchen is extremely ‘breeze’ and the floors are colder compared to rest of the house.

One of the lady’s on the Vizsla Fourm said it might be “static shock/pokes” due to the cold weather and dry air. As she put it “the horrid invisible monster is probably hurting him” which makes sense to me since we all have gotten shock a time or two. She suggested getting fresh can of "Static Guard" unscented and spray it around the areas Hunter hangs out. Spray his bed. When you pet him, first wash your hands and put on some hand lotion to reduce the possibility of static shock. Change his dishes to glass, which is less likely to build up an electrical charge. I have stainless steel bowls for all of the dogs, I wonder if SS bowls attract static.

I could have swore this weird behavior would be associated with my husband being gone but after reading your guys replies on the ones on VF I guess I’m wrong, either way I just hope this is a phase Hunter is going thru and it passes quick.

Betty AKA Canela, Jack and Vino's Mom







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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFrancs View Post
Thanks Ruth, Karen and Nickie for your advice – I knew you guys wouldn’t fail me!

Ruth,
Actually I did do that yesterday, I tried to play games (with treats) and act goofy with him and it did help but I just got discourage when he reverted back to his fearful ways. I will keep at it. Today I tried not to baby him and tried to act normal I didn't want him to feel I was worried about him. Hopefully he didn't sense it on me. Just wish he would snap out of it. So not like him.


Karen, I had to do a few errands this morning and I read your post as I was driving home and I did a u-turn and head to TJ Maxx to buy a few nonslip rugs, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that – but thank YOU! Great idea. In my rush to get home I bought one non-slip rug and accidently bought a regular-rug (I thought they were both non-slip) either way, I did test it out. Of course, he didn’t want nothing to do with the slippery one, he lost his footing as soon as he stepped on it. (that’s getting return) the other one I had to encourage him to walk on it but he eventually did; he walk very slow and sat down for a good few seconds. He tail was still under him but at least he was waggling it – guess he was proud he made some progress.

Nickie, I also wonder if it has to do with the weather too, its not rain but it sure is cold. The kitchen is extremely ‘breeze’ and the floors are colder compared to rest of the house.

One of the lady’s on the Vizsla Fourm said it might be “static shock/pokes” due to the cold weather and dry air. As she put it “the horrid invisible monster is probably hurting him” which makes sense to me since we all have gotten shock a time or two. She suggested getting fresh can of "Static Guard" unscented and spray it around the areas Hunter hangs out. Spray his bed. When you pet him, first wash your hands and put on some hand lotion to reduce the possibility of static shock. Change his dishes to glass, which is less likely to build up an electrical charge. I have stainless steel bowls for all of the dogs, I wonder if SS bowls attract static.

I could have swore this weird behavior would be associated with my husband being gone but after reading your guys replies on the ones on VF I guess I’m wrong, either way I just hope this is a phase Hunter is going thru and it passes quick.
Good Luck! We had GSD that had some strange issues. Eventually problem solved and she adjusted, but it was challenging.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 09:23 PM
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Try Rescue Remedy and Comfort Zone with D.A.P.
Thanks for the suggestion and reminding me - I forgot I bought it earlier this year as a "just in case I need it one day" now I just have to find it.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 06:43 PM
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How's it going?
This made me think, yikes, glad I wasn't driving near you
"I had to do a few errands this morning and I read your post as I was driving home and I did a u-turn ..."


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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LOL I was on a mission plus I followed all the traffic laws/rules. My husband thinks I drive like a lunatic all the time but I blame it on the streets of Chicago LOL jk I love my hometown!

We’re on Day 6 of Hunter’s strange behavior. We are still taking it day by day, he getting better but he isn’t where he use to be; it’s a slow progress. One reason I haven’t been online much trying to help him overcome this fear. He’s walking a little bit faster in the kitchen but still hesitate. I ignore him when he starts with his ears pulled back and pawing at the floor as he tries to decide if he really wants to go in the kitchen or not. I have notice he waits for me to walk by and use me as a shield when he wants to go from one side of the kitchen to the other side. Today, Hunter had no choice. I shampoo all the carpets in the house; so, all four dogs were restricted to the kitchen and the patio (which is off the kitchen). Hunter handled it pretty well even though he spent most of the day on the patio while the other 3 ran in and out from the patio and the kitchen. He did brave it out a couple times when he wanted to drink water.

I order a humidifier, should get here Monday, hopefully that will help with dry air and static shock.

Betty AKA Canela, Jack and Vino's Mom







In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog..
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